12.03.2013, 18:06

UK Firms Commit to Training Future Engineering Talent

Author: Harriet Thorpe

Major employers have committed to training the next generation of building services engineering talent by supporting the new government-backed Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Environmental Technologies which launched last week (7 March) at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London. 

Future Engineering Talent
With one of the Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Environmental Technologies qualification’s three core pathways focusing on ‘Building Services Engineering’, strategic outsourcing company MITIE is one of the UK industry giants that has helped develop the new qualification which will help address the major shortage of highly-skilled engineers impacting on sector growth and productivity. 

Engineering has been identified by the government as a high-growth industry, and the impact of climate change and the Green Deal[2] mean that environmental engineering will be of particular importance to the UK economy. However, employer concerns about the acute shortfall of around 42,000[3] highly-skilled engineers, with severe under-representation amongst women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups and those with disabilities, have prompted the development of the Higher Apprenticeship.

Lead Development Partner for the Higher Apprenticeship is City and Islington College, supported by Sector Skills Councils SEMTA, SummitSkills and Construction Industry Council (CIC) on behalf of Construction-Skills. The awarding body is Pearson.  Employers including Babcock International, ICI, Dulux, Balfour Beatty and Cummins Turbo Technologies have played a key role in shaping the Higher Apprenticeship to ensure its relevance to the needs of a wide range of engineering-based businesses, from large employers to supply-chain SMEs. Industry bodies and diversity groups have also been consulted.  A network of nine partner colleges across England, with strong specialisms in engineering, will offer the Apprenticeship initially, with more colleges and training providers expected. 

The government has provided £25 million to help employers train more of their workforce to gain qualifications at Level 4 and above, helping them to foster innovation and attract the most promising new talent. The Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Environmental Technologies is primarily aimed at craftspeople and technicians working in roles that include environmental engineering across the Construction, Building Services and Manufacturing industries. It is also open to potential employees with relevant qualifications.

Testing knowledge and competence, the Higher Apprenticeship combines high-quality, professional-level training and flexible delivery. It encompasses a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and a Higher National Certificate (HNC) at Level 4, Functional Skills (English, Maths and ICT), Employee Rights and Responsibilities, and Personal Learning and Thinking Skills. The Higher Apprenticeship’s Construction and Manufacturing pathways also include a research project.  In the future, professional body recognition and progression to further Higher Education study can be achieved.  Many people in crafts or junior technician roles in the three sectors identified will already be on Intermediate or Advanced Apprenticeship programmes. This Higher Apprenticeship is a straightforward continuation of that ‘earning while learning’ programme.

Successful completion of the Higher Apprenticeship qualifies apprentices for roles such as Construction Technical Supervisor, Supply Chain Technician, Contract Manager or Manufacturing Engineer, earning a potential salary of up to £33,000[4].

Funding will be available to employers through the Skills Funding Agency with the size of contribution dependent on sector, size of business and the apprentice’s age.  A £1,500 grant is available for SMEs employing up to 1,000 employees who have not employed an apprentice in the last twelve months.

Speaking at the launch event today, Trevor Hunter, Deputy Director for Higher Apprenticeships at City and Islington College, said: “This new Higher Apprenticeship will play a pivotal role in upskilling the current Construction, Building Services and Manufacturing workforce where skills shortages are challenging businesses of all sizes.  “It will create the next generation of talented technicians, supervisors and managers who will be able to address future environmental issues, and without whom, these industries and the wider UK economy will struggle to grow. We know that the employers that have been consulted and involved in its development view it as beneficial to their businesses, to staff progression and retention, and to long-term growth.”

Paul Jackson, CEO, EngineeringUK
Paul Jackson, CEO, EngineeringUK
Pete Mosley, Managing Director at MITIE’s Technical Facilities Management division says: “We’re delighted to have helped shape the Higher Apprenticeship and the standards for training in the sector. MITIE has a long standing commitment to training and Apprenticeships, and we believe that giving people opportunities to train, grow and develop in their careers is integral to our on-going success as a business. We are excited to have been able to help shape this new qualification so that it is relevant to business and can provide ambitious apprentices with the skills to progress in their chosen career.”

Paul Jackson, EngineeringUK Chief Executive, said: “Engineering is central to the UK’s economy, and environmental technologies represent a wealth of opportunity, from offshore wind and new energy harvesting devices through to software solutions for sustainability management. Our research highlights the need for more recruits into engineering if we are to take advantage of these opportunities and the Higher Apprenticeship’s business-backed model of academic and hands-on training will play an important role in safeguarding the UK economy and a home-grown future workforce.”

To register an interest in the Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Environmental Technologies or for further information, visit or call 0207 700 9419.

[1] Subject to validation by the SFA


[3] Engineering UK: Engineering companies are projected to have 2.74 million job openings from 2010 – 2020, 1.86 million of which will need engineering skills. There will be demand for around 69,000 people qualified at advanced apprenticeship or equivalent level each year. Yet only around 27,000 UK apprentices a year currently qualify at the appropriate level.

[4] Source: Job advertisements for Manufacturing Engineer positions 26-28.2.13


About the Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Environmental Technologies

In the Plan for Growth (March 2011), the Government set out its approach to put the UK on a path to sustainable, long term economic growth. A key proposal within this plan was to increase Higher Apprenticeship places – improving the skills available to businesses whilst widening opportunities for employment and progression.

Since the launch of The Higher Apprenticeship Fund in July 2011 approximately 30 partnerships have been awarded funding to develop and implement Higher Apprenticeship frameworks in a number of occupational areas.

City and Islington College won the bid to develop the Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Environmental Technologies in June 2012.  It will meet increasing demand for high level environmental engineering skills to tackle the impact of climate change and to satisfy legislation

Colleges offering the Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering Environmental Technologies are: City and Islington College; Wirral Metropolitan College; Redcar & Cleveland College; Isle of Wight College; City College Norwich; South Nottingham College; Sheffield College; Uxbridge College; and Carshalton College. 

About the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

The National Apprenticeship Service focuses on increasing the number of apprentices in England. We work with employers to help them introduce apprentices into their businesses, help those looking to start their careers find an Apprenticeship opportunity and contribute towards the costs of the training and qualifications within an Apprenticeship. We engage with a wide range of partners to help design the frameworks for apprentices and we implement all Government policies aimed at setting the high standard of quality Apprenticeships.

We promote excellence in Apprenticeships and vocational training with awards, campaigns and skills competitions including National Apprenticeship Week and WorldSkills UK.

About City and Islington College (Candi)

City and Islington College, also known as Candi, is a further education college located in Islington, London.

The College has been awarded Beacon status by the Learning and Skills Council. It was also labelled as "Outstanding" in a recent Ofsted report and is the first further education college in the country to win the Queen's Anniversary Prize twice.

For further information please contact Donna Chessum or Harriet Thorpe at Tribe on 01603 417722.

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